Psst. There’s something you should know about Christmas. The Christmas carols, we’re afraid, might have it wrong: Jesus, many New Testament scholars believe, was not born in Bethlehem but Nazareth.

O Little Town of…Nazareth?

Where was Jesus born? In Bethlehem, of course, in a manger, because there was no room for Joseph and Mary at the local inn. That’s what all the Christmas carols say. And that’s what the Gospels say, too. Or is it? Once we begin to examine the gospel stories carefully, we find that […]

Bethlehem…Of Course

Steve Mason has probably made the best case possible that we should adopt an “agnostic” position regarding the birthplace of Jesus. But although Mason has examined the literary data with exemplary care, he has failed to demolish the Gospels’ conviction that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days of Herod the king. […]

Response and Surresponse

We invited Professor Mason to respond to Professor Murphy-O’Connor’s comments in Bethlehem…Of Course, and he agreed. We then asked Professor Murphy-O’Connor to respond to Professor Mason. He too agreed. Their statements appear below:

Van Gogh’s Bible
Finding message of hope in Isaiah By Cliff Edwards

When his father died unexpectedly in 1885, a somber Vincent van Gogh decided to create a memorial to the Reverend Theodorus van Gogh. He placed his father’s heavy pulpit Bible on a cloth-covered table, set beside it a snuffed-out candle and small book, and then painted the scene. As dark and somber as […]

Did Ecclesiastes Copy Gilgamesh?

Nearly a century ago, the German scholar Hubert Grimme NOTICED some startling similarities between the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes and the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh. This was indeed strange. Ecclesiastes, most scholars agree, dates to the second half of the third century B.C.E. and was written by a sophisticated Jerusalemite intellectual. On its face […]


Teaching Creation in Kansas
What would happen if we actually taught the biblical creation story in the science classroom? By Ronald S. Hendel
Imagining a New Millennium
In an era of cynicism, the Bible offers hope for an ideal world, a world in which God’s activity serves as the foundation of our human efforts. By Anthony J. Saldarini
The Nativity